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Choppers in Ireland. (Not a definitive Guide.)
I started to restore some Choppers for Paul of Paul’s Chopper Bulletin Board. Two of these had “Made in the Republic of Ireland” stickers on them instead of the usual “Made in Nottingham.” This led me into trying to find out what I could about Choppers made in Ireland.

The Raleigh factory was situated in Hanover Quay Dublin.
From Thom’s Dublin Street directory, Raleigh was first listed at No 6 Hanover Quay in 1939. In 1943, they moved to Nos 8-11. A full range of Raleigh Cycles was manufactured at this Dublin factory in the post war era.
Being an early factory, built and used before safety regulations came into practice, the wooden floor soaked up all the oil, grease and other flammable lubricants over the years, so that when a fire started in 1976, the whole factory burned to the ground.
This lead to the biggest insurance payout in Irish history, although this has probably been surpassed by now! Unfortunately all the records stored in the factory were lost at this time.

After the fire, Raleigh stayed in Ireland, but only as a distributor, not a cycle manufacturer. They built another factory, but quickly downscaled to suit their distribution network.

This is a head badge of a Raleigh Chopper made in Ireland.

The obvious differences are that the badge is silver; it has the same brass base with the silver as a covering. Secondly beneath the Raleigh name instead of the usual ‘Made in Nottingham, England’ are two silver stripes.

Also in place of the ‘Made in England’ sticker is a ‘made in the Republic of Ireland’ sticker.

The ‘Made in England’ sticker only appeared on the Nottingham bikes around 1974, but the Irish bikes had ‘made in’ stickers from the early days.

Another difference is that the frames have two frame numbers, both are on the rear drop-out as per standard early Choppers made at Nottingham, which only have one frame number. No information about dating Irish made Choppers has come to light.

The last difference that I can see is the chain ring.

On most Choppers this is the usual three arm 46 tooth ring with the heron’s head in the pattern. But in Ireland a 46 tooth chain ring with these extra supporting arms, shown in the picture, was fitted as standard.

Apparently Red was produced in highest numbers closely followed by Ultra Violet, other colours were rare.

I contacted Raleigh and they confirmed that indeed at times local markets used different badges. Other reps have told me that B.S.A. and Rudge, both owned by Raleigh, were used in markets such as South Africa. Hence some Choppers were badged and sold as B.S.A. Commandos.

Thanks to John Donnelly. (jd@donnelly1b.fsnet.co.uk) for this article